“We’re really going to have to watch the girls when we are in Thailand, especially walking down the street. You know how chaotic they are with overhanging wires, bumpy pavers, and tuk tuks and motorbikes zooming by.”
My mother’s mind had kicked into gear, imagining every possible danger and working out a commando move in advance whilst planning a trip to Thailand with the kids.
It’s the world of illogical fear that bursts into your life the minute your babe opens its mouth for that first gasp of air.
It’s what wakes me up in the middle of the night frantic with ridiculous thoughts such as:
“Oh my god. What if we were in the Northern Territory and the girls ran to the side of a billabong and a croc lurched out of the water at them?”
We don’t even have plans to go to the Northern Territory.
I’ve learned not to fight it, but to instead use it as a preparation tool and a reminder to always be alert when travelling with our kids.
Planning a trip to Thailand with Kids
Travelling to a country such as Thailand with kids can be daunting for parents, so they give up the thought before even investigating solutions to their fears.
I completely understand, and I have lived in Thailand and travelled multiple times with NEVER a problem (and I used to take many risks).
Use these tips when planning a trip to Thailand with kids, to help conquer those fears.
Planning where to go in Thailand with kids
This all depends on time, budget and comfort levels. There are many exciting and memorable places to visit in Thailand.
Personally, I would avoid Phi Phi (maybe a day trip) and Patong, Phuket and Koh Phangan during full moon.
Want help with planning a travel experience the whole family will love?
Planning when to go to Thailand with kids
- December – January will be busy as it is peak season. The weather is slightly cooler (but still hot) and clear during this period.
- April is the hottest time in Thailand, and I mean HOT! But you can cool off with the Songkran Festival (the throwing of water) as Thais and tourists roam the streets with containers of water or water guns and drench each other and passersby.
- The rainy season is May to October (mind you it’s mostly just sudden downpours that cool you down. I however, was once stuck in my bungalow on the beach in Koh Samui for two days during torrential rain.)
- The rainy season is a much cheaper and less crowded time to visit Thailand. Think of how much your kids will love to play in all that rain.
Vaccinations for Thailand with kids
Visit your doctor in advance to discuss vaccination options for your children as there are various factors involved. You don’t want to go to Thailand and have them fall drastically ill.
Typhoid is usually a recommended vaccine; you do need to have this 14 days before arrival in Thailand.
Protective gear for kids travelling to Thailand
No, I don’t mean helmets or suits of armour, although a visit to your local apothecary might be a good solution!
- Ensure that you buy all the supplies needed to keep baby’s skin as soft and supple as the day they were born: sunscreen, mosquito repellant (deet free) hats, long sleeved shirts, rashies.
- Pack a first aid kit. Stock it with panadol, antibiotics, sterilized needles, band-aids, antiseptic cream, bandages and any medication your child may personally need. A doctor’s letter to verify this is sometimes a good idea. Here’s a handy checklist of what to pack in your travel medical kit.
- If your child has any food allergies (or yourself), carry a card with what they can’t eat written in Thai. For celiacs or gluten-free requirements, I found this Thai travel card.
- If you have an infant, take any formula that your baby may need with you as well as enough nappies (including swimmer nappies) just to be sure.
Travel Insurance for travelling to Thailand with kids
A repeated mantra of ours:
If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
Especially with kids. Make sure you are covered for any activities you may be doing that require extra coverage. If you intend on riding a scooter, cover yourself with insurance. It is far too risky not to! (You do need an international licence in order for the insurance to be valid if driving a scooter yourself).
WorldNomads is also a good insurance and you can read more in our post about the best travel insurance for Australians travelling overseas.
Baby travel gear for babies and toddlers
Of course, after my freak out moment of envisioning the children racing out onto a chaotic Bangkok main road, we decided we would not leave home without the Baby Bjorn and Savannah would be carried in it every time we leave the hotel. I will be triple checking the snaps. (Nah, I’m not that mad.)
Seriously the Baby Bjorn is our favourite baby travel product. It gives you free hands, gives bub a front on view of the world, keeps them safe and rests their tired little legs so you can explore and enjoy.
We’ll also be taking a travel stroller- which is perfect for those moments when Savannah (or Kalyra) need a nap!
Choose your transportation in Thailand wisely
I would so love to buzz around on the back of a motorbike with the girls. It’s one of my favourite things to do in South East Asia. My crazy mother’s mind is far too off stepping into that DIScomfort zone.
I know some parents who do it with their children (including babies and have no issues. Thai people do all the time)
Do whatever suits your comfort level and never push that.
I will probably take the girls in the back of a tuk tuk, for a short ride around a neighbourhood area, not on the open highway, however. I feel pretty safe in one, and I am sure I will be riding the drivers back to take it slow and not do Michael Schumaker corners. I think it’s safe enough adventure for them and will help them to stretch their comfort zones.
In Thailand, there are plenty of buses, public songthaws and mini-vans to get around in. Also, know that in any vehicle you get into there will be no seatbelts. Makes for a fun journey trying to keep toddler still.
The best way to get around Bangkok is the super efficient, clean, and cheap SkyTrain (BTS). If that doesn’t take you where you need to go, try the subway (MRT).
Clothes Packing for Thailand
I am so excited about packing for Thailand because I know I don’t have to take much. (Kalyra packed her bag herself)
Finally, we will be traveling in one, predictable hot climate. Just a couple of dresses, a long sleeve shirt for temple visits, thongs/flip flops, swimmers and hats.
But don’t stress too much, you can pretty much buy anything you need once in Thailand, and leave plenty of room in your suitcase for SHOPPING! Just be sure to check your weight allowance with your particular airline.
Don’t forget a few toys to keep the kids busy on planes and the rare occasion they will be bored with riding elephants, building sand castles and eating street food.
Which brings me to
Street food in Thailand: should you do it or not?
YES YES YES. OMG I can’t wait to eat off the carts with my girls. Introduce them to real eating and bloody delicious, cheap food.
You can read a ton of reasons why you should eat street food, but basically, it’s supporting the local economy, it’s a cultural education, its cheap, authentic and delicious.
Keep it safe – go to the places that are busy with the locals. You can watch the vendors cook the food in front of you anyway and eat it hot after all the bugs have been killed off.
Thailand is an amazing destination to visit as a family.
Whilst planning and being prepared is important, especially for the energy and congestion that is Bangkok, the rest of the country is very relaxed and you will find yourself slipping into Thai island life without a blink of the eye.